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AskCheryl: How Much Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift? NEW Q&As

Depositphotos_1049355_m-2015In June, I published an article in the Huffington Post Weddings section titled, “How Much Should I Spend on a Wedding Gift.” It seems that many people wanted more specifics so I wanted to share two of the follow-up questions. They are different questions with similar answers.


Dear Cheryl,
My fiancé and I are invited to his friend’s wedding. He is pretty good friends with him, but not BEST friends. They’ll be married in NYC and I’m sure it will be a pretty nice wedding, but not exactly the Plaza Hotel.  We are both going. They have a Macy’s registry with one place setting costing $139. Is that enough or should we buy two place settings? Or should we give $200 cash to their “travel registry”?
Thanks for good advice,
Valerie

Dear Valerie,
The amount spent for a wedding gift is sometimes difficult because there are no definitive answers. The wedding gift is token of your affection and support for the couple getting married and is based upon your budget and closeness to the couple. And these parameters are a matter of your judgment and feelings.

We (the public in general) need to get away from this idea that we feel we are “paying admission” to go to a wedding. In my opinion, the amount you spend on a gift should be the same whether you are attending the wedding or not. As you are a couple and buying one gift from both of you, what you can afford will be larger (assuming you are both working). Is one place setting enough? That really depends on what you can afford.

They are getting married in NYC and wedding gifts are traditinally on the higher end of the scale in larger urban areas (as things just cost more), but the “poshness” of the wedding should have no bearing on your gift. Since you seem comfortable with around $200, I think that is a very nice gift. My daughter lives in NYC and usually gives around a $200 value to her good friends.

But again, you should give what you are comfortable giving. I don’t recommend going into debt for a wedding gift.


Dear Cheryl,
My two young adult children will be attending a wedding with my husband and me. I am planning to get one gift from all of us. How much should I spend? Do I multiply the gift amount by four? So like $400? Which does seem quite steep for me.
Thanks for your help!
MJ

Dear MJ,
The amount spent for a wedding gift is often difficult because there are no definitive answers. The wedding gift is token of your love and support for the couple getting married and is based upon your budget and closeness to the couple. And these parameters are a matter of your judgment and feelings.

We need to get away from this idea that we are “paying admission” to go to a wedding. If you multiply your gift by the number in your family that is basically what you are doing.

Are your “young adult children” still your dependents (living at home or in college)? Were your children invited independently or as part of your family? Since you are planning to pay for the gift from everyone, I will assume that you are still supporting your children. Therefore, the couple probably does not expect a gift from your children.

I also have two somewhat young adult children, but they are out of college and working. My niece is getting married in November. My children will be receiving their own invitations and giving their own gifts. The budget for their gifts will be less than mine, because they have less disposable income.

In my opinion, the amount you spend on a gift should be the same whether you are attending the wedding or not. The answer to your question is that you should give what you are comfortable giving. If your children are working, you could add in an amount that they would be able to afford, making it a “group gift.”


If you have questions or comments about gift giving or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email AskCheryl@RegistryFinder.com.

Emails in this column are received from readers. Emails may be edited for spelling and grammar, or to remove sensitive information, however, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

Cheryl Seidel is the founder and President of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations and more.

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